Montevideo is a sleepy town in western Minnesota, more than 100 miles away from the Twin Cities, a town of around 5,300 people in farm country. It’s also the focus of a terrorism investigation by the FBI, ATF, and state law enforcement that resulted in an arrest today:
Buford Rogers, 24, of Montevideo, was arrested Friday after authorities searched his home and found guns and explosive devices, according to an FBI news release.
The search warrant was executed in conjunction with the ATF, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and several regional law enforcement agencies.
The FBI said in the release that the lives of numerous Montevideo residents were potentially saved.
The Star Tribune has a little more on the case:
According to a federal affidavit obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, FBI agents from the domestic terrorism squad searched the property at the mobile home park in Montevideo and discovered the Molotov cocktails, suspected pipe bombs and firearms. The affidavit said Buford was there at the time of the search, and one firearm recovered from Buford’s residence was a Romanian AKM assault rifle.
In an interview with authorities, Rogers admitted firing the weapon on two separate occasions at a gun range in Granite Falls, the affidavit said. Rogers has a past conviction for felony burglary and is not allowed to have a firearm.
Rogers is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court this week.
Rogers’ 2011 felony burglary conviction stems from an incident in Lac qui Parle County. He also has a 2009 misdemeanor conviction for dangerous handling of a weapon in Hennepin County, as well as other criminal violations, according to online court records.
This sounds more like a lone-wolf nutcase attempting to wreak revenge on his community, but we should find out more when the charges get aired in federal court. Otherwise, why target Montevideo, as the FBI’s statement suggests? Why not go to the Twin Cities to target a much larger population and make a bigger impression on the media? On the other hand, the discovery of this malicious needle in a very large haystack suggests that either a source close to the suspect tipped off law enforcement, or the suspect was trying to network for his planned attack.
Update: According to CBS, Rogers was rather indiscreet:
CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reports the search warrant was obtained in part after receiving tips by various people, according to a source.
“Cooperation between the FBI and its federal, state, and local partners enabled law enforcement to prevent a potential tragedy in Montevideo,” Christopher Warrener, the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Minneapolis, said in Monday’s release.